The Effect of Proverbial Explanation Strategies on EFL Learners' Metaphorical Comprehension

Bahman Gorjian, Khalil Bavi, Somaeyeh Khoshakhlagh


This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of explanation strategies on Iranian EFL learners’ metaphorical comprehension of proverbs and sayings. To achieve this purpose, a sample of Interchange Placement Test (Richards, 2005) was administered to a group of 100 EFL learners and 70 learners at advanced level were selected as the participants of the study. They formed two groups of experimental and control. The experimental group was taught through an explanation strategy which helped them raise their awareness by tracing back to original usages of proverbs while the control group received contextual clues to understand the meanings of the proverbs. After 12 sessions of treatment, both groups sat for the post-test of understanding the meaning of the proverbs. The Independent and Paired Samples t-test were run to analyze the participants' mean scores. The results indicated that the mean score of the participants provided with the explanation strategy was much more than those who did not receive this treatment and it enhanced the learners’ comprehension of proverbs and sayings considerably. The Independent Samples t-test also showed that there was a significant difference between the experimental and the control groups. Implications of the study may be used for EFL teachers to teach metaphorical expressions through explanation strategies such as definition, elaboration or giving the first language equivalents to clarify the meaning of the proverbs.


explanation, metaphorical comprehension, proverbs

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